Additional tuition costs above advertised pricing

I’ve been chatting with a flight school that says cadets pay as they go and they pay a flat fee regardless of how many additional hours they need to complete their training beyond the required hours. My understanding (from talking to a number of flight instructors, schools, recruiters, pilots etc) is that almost nobody completes training at the required minimum number of hours…

So my question comes in two parts:

Is ATP considered a prepay program, or pay-as-you-go?

Is it an “all-inclusive” training or are extra flights tacked on to your tuition costs? If they are, on average, how much extra should I expect to pay on top of the advertised amount? How does that work with my loan?

Thanks very much for any direction you all might have regarding this topic.



ATP is actually one of the original “fixed cost” flight training programs (I recommend you visit the website as they cover these types of questions). As you said virtually no one completes their training at the FAA mins and ATPs hours for each license and rating is actually based on over 30yrs experience. Additionally since the program includes every phase necessary to become a professional pilot, if you go over a few hours in one area they can often “borrow” that time from another. I personally don’t know anyone who’s gone over the allotted time and been charged but it can and does happen. The thing to consider however is ATP was created BY airline pilots to train airline pilots and the program is modelled after actual airline training. Airlines set a VERY finite footprint for training and it’s not as if someone goes over the airline will charge them more. Obviously airlines don’t charge for training but they also don’t allow pilots to go significantly beyond the allotted time. If you can’t make it you out. ATP is very much the same. They have X hours allocated for each phase and if a student finds themselves going over in every phase it begs the question will they be successful at the airlines. Moral of the story is you should not expect to go over provided you put in the time and effort.


Hey thanks Adam!

I guess I just didn’t connect the dots on what the “fixed cost” meant on the website and I didn’t think to ask for clarification on the calls I’ve had with ATP. Thanks for the clarification.

That being said, and maybe I’m missing something again, but is it prepay school or pay as you go?

I just read your bio and that was incredibly encouraging… I’m in a similar situation at 35 and in my thirdish career (“ish” being a fine dining high-end professional server throughout my other careers), and I’ve been jokingly calling this my 2nd midlife crisis. My family thinks I’m nuts for doing this, but I want to love what I do, and I’ve been obsessed with flying since I was a kid so I’m taking the plunge. Thanks for putting up your story, I certainly appreciate it!


It’s prepay and the financing needs to be in place prior to starting. They don’t want you starting then not being able to afford completion.

Thank you for your kind words. That’s why we put up the bios.


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There is a very slight possibility of going over the allotted flight hours at ATP if you need additional training, but the vast majority of students finish on time and without having to add any hours in.


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I ended up calling them yesterday and getting a little more clarification around the topic. It sounds like it does happen that students go over the allotted time but since it’s a fixed cost, I wouldn’t have to pay anything extra if I did require a little extra flight time… Which seems to differ from most flight schools.